Okay, I know you’ve all heard me say it. Don’t go For Sale By Owner. And I’m sure you’re like “Yea, yea, here she goes again.” Before you say that, let me tell you a couple of stories that happened JUST this month, and then form your opinion.

It’s no secret that those who go FSBO:

  • Don’t want to pay a commission, and  
  • Feel they can easily sell their home themselves. 

But seriously? Even though your aunt had her Real Estate license 20 years ago and she’s going to help you and even though you’ve sold 4 homes yourself before, I have a few thoughts for you to ponder.

Food for thought

For starters, if I came to your house for a listing appointment and told you, “I’ve sold a total of 4 homes in my lifetime,” would you be impressed? 

Okay, off my soapbox. But in all seriousness, don’t do it. There are far too many factors that I deal with on a regular basis that are easy to miss if you’re not familiar with the industry. As you consider FSBO, think about how often you’ve had to deal with issues like these 

  • Contracts: There are an incredible number of things in the contract that you could miss if you’re not familiar with the terminology and don’t have the experience of reading them every day. 
  • Inspections: With so many components, it can be tough to know exactly what your report says. Some things are big deals and should be negotiated. Other things, it’s better to let go. A few things I’ve negotiated this year that have saved my buyers thousands of dollars: septic tanks, a new roof, foundation repairs, eradicating termites, dealing with high radon, and more!
  • Appraisal: Some buyers write an offer that says they’ll pay the offered amount even if the home doesn’t appraise for that amount. Is that wise? It depends on the particular scenario and a number of factors. Would you know what to do in this situation? 
  • Deals gone bad: What if a buyer pulls out of your deal at last minute, with all contingencies of the sale removed. Would you know what to do? I promise you, it happens! And I know exactly what to do.

Real-life stories that illustrate my point

Story number one: I had a friend who had talked to me about potentially listing her house. Awesome. Before she did, though, word got around that she wanted to move. A friend of the seller’s offered to buy it before it was listed. We discussed the situation and everything was fine. There were no hard feelings and no contract was signed between us (we’d had a purely friendly discussion). 

When the buyers had the inspection, they wanted to nickel-and-dime the seller. She said, “No thanks,” and decided to list her house with me. SOLD. In less than one day on the market, her home sold for 15K OVER her first FSBO offer. The seller netted MORE by listing with me. (These results aren’t necessarily typical – of course, not all homes sell in less than one day, but I do my best for every client.)

Oooooh, and my second story is even better. Sometimes, a seller isn’t really considering selling their home but lives in an area where one of my clients would like to live. I’ll knock on the door and ask if the owner might be interested in selling. Many times, the seller is happy where they are and isn’t interested. But this time when I asked, the seller considered it. She called me and said, “Okay, help me. What is my home worth?” 

I gave the seller my recommendation. The seller gave the potential buyer that number, and the potential buyer made an offer for 30K LESS than her asking price. The buyer tod the seller that she used to sell Real Estate in another state, provided the seller with comparable listings from Zillow, and said, “My comps don’t support the price you’re asking.” (Don’t even get me started on my soapbox on Zillow pricing again! Ha Ha.)

The seller declined the offer and decided to list with me. We received five offers, including one from the SAME buyer, who offered an amount OVER asking price with an appraisal guarantee. While these may not be typical results, do you think this seller was happy? I believe so – she ended up netting MUCH more than she would have if she’d sold the house without me. 

A couple of other things to consider

If you’re leaning towards trying FSBO, ask yourself these questions: 

  • How familiar are you with current market trends? 
  • How confident are you that you know your home’s current market value –what it could sell for today? Ooooh, I forgot. Zillow tells you. Puke. (I’m rolling my eyes right now.) Zillow hasn’t ever walked through your home. Zillow doesn’t know the updates/ upgrades you’ve done. Zillow doesn’t know that your dog ate your carpet or that your roof is falling in. 

Stop using your Zillow Zestimate as the “end all be all,” stop asking your aunt who was licensed 20 years ago. Use a professional!

The bottom line

Could you sell without a Realtor in this market?  Sure, it’s likely. 

Will you net the most money by doing so? It’s HIGHLY unlikely!

Real estate is a numbers game. FSBO simply does not have the same resources as a licensed Realtor. We get your house in front of the maximum number of potential buyers. We simplify the sales process. We have a GREAT marketing plan. Why does a marketing plan matter? 

A great marketing plan = more interested buyers. 

More interested buyers = more money in YOUR pocket.

Before you make a mistake that could cost you thousands, be sure to interview a few agents (or just me).